On Tuesday morning, the Detroit Red Wings announced they had signed pending unrestricted free agent Jake Walman to a three-year contract extension with an average annual value of $3.4 million.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported word of a potential extension last night after the Red Wings’ 6-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators Monday night.
While Red Wings’ number one defenseman, Moritz Seider, had a slow start to his sophomore season, since Derek Lalonde put Walman on his left side, he has excelled.
The Red Wings’ top pair is among the best in the NHL in terms of suppressing offense. From Money Puck, the Walman Seider pair rank first in the NHL in expected goals against per 60 minutes, with 1.68 among pairs who have played 150 minutes or more.
While there was plenty of reported interest around Walman, Steve Yzerman made the decision to bet on Walman’s breakout. It looks to be a worthwhile bet, given Detroit’s current defensive makeup. There isn’t another player on Detroit that can do the things Walman can do.The way Walman is able to make a move at the offensive blueline around a defender and then drive to the middle for a shot is high-end.
In 40 games this season, Walman has five goals and five assists, but there is potential for more offense as he could be an option on either powerplay unit and is currently relied on in defensive situations.
With Olli Maatta being locked up for two more seasons and now Walman for three, the Red Wings have depth on the blue line, which hasn’t been the case in a long-time.